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26  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: St Louis police murder scandal (PLUS: riots, idiotic press conferences, etc.) on: August 15, 2014, 12:16:01 pm
From what I gather, the story is that the police officer, tipped off to a nearby robbery, drove up to Brown and his friend, shouted obscenities, and attempted to open the door. Brown pushed back on the door and stopped the officer from exiting his vehicle. Brown and the officer then got into a physical confrontation with the officer inside the car and Brown outside of it. During which time, they tussled over the officer's gun until the gun went off. At that point, Brown breaks away and tries running from the vehicle. The officer fires his gun and grazes Brown. Brown, realizing he is caught, stops and puts his hands up, but the officer at this point continues to shoot, killing Brown. Brown is in the wrong until the very end, at which point the officer is in the wrong.

It is only what happens at the very end that disturbs me. An unarmed guy standing 10 or 20 feet away, who is surrendering, should not be shot execution style. There is still a lot of unreleased information out there, but this is the element the police haven't explained.
27  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Rand Paul writes TIME op-ed on Ferguson MO/police militarization on: August 15, 2014, 11:21:10 am
Good for him.
28  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: BREAKING: Zephyr Teachout Endorsed by Massive Labor Group on: August 15, 2014, 09:35:26 am
So is this a serious campaign now? I assume Cuomo has a 50 point lead in the polls or some such.
29  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ukraine Crisis on: August 14, 2014, 08:51:18 pm

Not sure if the government should stop its offensive or not, but if Russian arms continue to pour across the border, and the government halts its offensive, it may not be able to regain the initiative. They may feel they are in a race against time. On the other hand, Ukraine should look for some way to help Putin to save face, as well as care about the future feelings of the population there, as they want to reintegrate these cities back into the Ukrainian polity. These considerations need to be taken into account, as military dimensions are not the only dimension, there is also political dimensions.

But it would be better if the rebels could just be convinced to give up. If they really care about the people there, why are they fortifying themselves in the cities determined to fight it out? They have no chance of winning without Russian intervention. It seems these local "fighters" are awfully selfish, if they are determined to go down in a  blaze of glory and talk about Stalingrad where over 2 million people died.
30  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: August 14, 2014, 08:39:23 pm
http://www.punchng.com/news/lagos-ebola-patients-neglected-critically-ill-relatives-colleagues/

A description of ramshackle conditions in Nigeria's isolation unit, where the patients are being neglected and an American doctor resorted to personally footing the bill for basic medical supplies. To me, this is far more concerning than the reports of hospital meltdowns in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Although I'm sure in the American mind all African countries are really just one big country, they really aren't. Nigeria collects billions in oil revenues as the world's 10th largest producer, and there are pockets of real wealth in that country. They should not be lacking for anything. In terms of population it is also over 40 times the size of Liberia and 30 times the size of Sierra Leone. The fact that they only have 10 people sick, all tied to the same known man, and they can't handle 10 patients in the whole guddamned country, they can't find enough people brave enough for care for these people... this is disturbing. This is sick. God help them all of this thing really breaks out over there.
31  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: August 14, 2014, 08:27:30 pm
The World Health Organization has said that "Staff at the outbreak sites see evidence that the numbers of reported cases [1,975] and deaths [1,069] vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak."

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/overview-20140814/en/

The World Food Programme is using its well-developed logistics to deliver food to the more than one million people locked down in the quarantine zones, where the borders of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone intersect.

This is a war effort going on here, a war against a natural enemy. There are rockets being fired, there are people trapped on hilltops and starving to death, there are government ministers shaking in their boots, and the army is being called out. But it's not other human beings that are the enemy this time, and killing people isn't the answer. This time, the enemy takes the form of a virus...
32  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: How would have Hillary's 2008 map differed? on: August 14, 2014, 08:08:30 pm
33  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Best Republican President since 1945? on: August 13, 2014, 10:14:14 pm
Ronald Reagan, then Eisenhower.
34  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: St Louis police murder scandal (PLUS: riots, idiotic press conferences, etc.) on: August 13, 2014, 10:11:05 pm
If guns weren't so prevalent, I would completely advocate that street cops should not be armed with lethal weapons. As long as they are, you are going to get tragedies like this.
35  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: August 13, 2014, 06:37:08 pm
Meanwhile, as coverage has slowed, the rate of new infections continues to accelerate in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The current rate of infection by country,
1. Liberia
2. Sierra Leone
...
3. Guinea
4. Nigeria (all due to Patrick Sawyer)

An educational tune
36  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Hillary Clinton talking A LOT of sense on foreign policy on: August 12, 2014, 10:49:07 pm
Deus,

Look man, the bottom line of this is that we need to get past the whole idea of "anyone we arm in the Middle East is going to turn into Osama bin Laden OMGZ the '80s! Benghazi!"

The reality is, 90% of people in Syria and Iraq, no matter what side they are on, do not want to live under ISIS-style shariah law, with beheadings and all. Have some formerly more moderate militias joined ISIS? Sure. Not for ideology... because ISIS was beheading those that didn't join them or revolted against them. Because ISIS had by far the best equipment. Cities surrendered to Genghis Khan, too. Yes, any time we arm someone, train them, there's always a risk, there's always a leap of faith. But it's better than the alternative of having no allies in the region at all, and just crossing our fingers and hoping for the best. If we have no friends, enemies will fill the vacuum.
37  General Politics / Economics / Job Openings in U.S. Increase to Highest Level Since 2001 on: August 12, 2014, 10:45:18 pm
Job openings rose in June to the highest level in more than 13 years, firming up the U.S. labor market picture for the second half of the year.

The number of unfilled positions climbed by 94,000 to 4.67 million, the most since February 2001, from a revised 4.58 million in May, a report from the Labor Department showed today.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-12/job-openings-in-u-s-rose-by-94-000-to-4-67-million-in-june.html
38  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Is George W. Bush to blame for ISIS? on: August 10, 2014, 11:24:51 pm
If the democratic forces in Syria had triumphed and Assad been overthrown, there would never be the vacuum of power in western Syria that allowed such a radical group to thrive.

I think you mean eastern Syria.


And anyways, as crappy as Assad is, helping him would be been the most effective way to destroy ISIS.

Assad and ISIS until very, very recently have had a symbiotic relationship; similar to Likud and Hamas. They are both extremists and rely on polarizing the situation to win. Irregardless, we never supported Assad either. We never had a dog in this fight, because we chose not to have one. We gambled that not having a dog in the fight was going to work out in the end, but in as far as ISIS is a concern of the U.S., that hasn't happened.

Morden- yes, eastern Syria.
39  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Hillary Clinton talking A LOT of sense on foreign policy on: August 10, 2014, 10:35:02 pm
We did intervene in the conflict though....by training and supplying jihadists who have now joined ISIS. Clinton is undoubtedly aware of this fact, yet she has the gall to claim that if we had intervened further, we wouldn't have armed jihadists and the FSA would've won. She is a blatant liar and her supporters are either ignorant or in denial at this point.

Wow. You are sinking low. Surely you must be aware that WorldNetDaily and BeforeItsNews are less credible sources than your everyday Murdoch tabloid. The IBT article doesn't say that the U.S. trained ISIS... it says the U.S. trained some Syrian rebels in Jordan. That's no secret. Then it goes on to speculate that "A USA-ISIS tie-up is plausible, considering the fact how the CIA was responsible for the strengthening of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan." So basically their evidence that the U.S. trained ISIS is to point to the CIA activities in Afghanistan 30 years ago, and imply guilt by association. Sorry.

The people who have been calling for a stronger ing U.S. response in Syria for years now have never said all we need to do is train one or two militia group to go into Syria and get ground up. They've always been saying that we need to provide significant arms and enough aid to get the Free Syrian Army the upper hand in the war. With such equipment they would have eradicated ISIS in early 2014. Even without such equipment they dealt ISIS the most severe blow in its history in January and February 2014, driving them out of huge chunks of Syria, even while fighting Assad's forces at the same time. They've also been massacred by ISIS. To continue to conflate these people with ISIS is an insult.

They're fighting a dictator who responded to peaceful protests, remember, by gunning down people in the street, including his own Alawites in 2011, and has since killed 100,000+ of his own people, likely used chemical weapons to gas thousands of children, has systematically used starvation, deprivation of medical supplies, terrorism of the civilian population, barrel bombs, and blockades to compel his people into submission, and to top it all off is aligned with an anti-American bloc of Russia, Hezbollah, and Iran. For years, people such as myself, have not been strong enough in speaking out against this man, for fear of supporting jihadists. But with the rise of ISIS, this has not only become a moral catastrophe for American foreign  policy, which if we have a shred of compassion left will be seen as our generation's Rwanda 5 years from now, but have become a strategic and military catastrophe as well. Osama bin Laden's dream is finally true that there is a Caliphate in the middle east.

People like Robert Ford, our ambassador to Syria, have been speaking out on this issue for years, and I and many others owe him an apology. The number of people who still have their heads stuck in the sand is unbelievable.
40  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Is George W. Bush to blame for ISIS? on: August 10, 2014, 10:16:47 pm
Well, more than W, but most of the blame should go to the actual bastards doing the horrible acts.

That's like saying that Neville Chamberlain and the Allied countries that imposed the terrible Treaty of Versailles terms shouldn't be blamed at all for Nazi Germany and all of the blame only goes to Hitler and the Nazis. Well of course the Nazis alone are primarily responsible for their actions, that much is obvious. But that hardly exonerates the other mentioned people whose actions both led to their rise and were quite obviously foolhardy, even at the time.

No, that's like saying Ralph Nader is to blame for ISIS because without him, Bush would never even have been elected to begin with.

Neville Chamberlain was directly involved in Hitler's military success because his Treaty of Munich allowed more time to Hitler to build up the Wehrmacht and invade Poland (btw, you've already lost this debate based on Godwin's law). When Bush left office, no one was talking about ISIS. They were an irrelevant, powerless group. The group's rise has occurred in the past two years, and Syria was instrumental. If the democratic forces in Syria had triumphed and Assad been overthrown, there would never be the vacuum of power in western Syria that allowed such a radical group to thrive.
41  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Hillary Clinton talking A LOT of sense on foreign policy on: August 10, 2014, 10:11:55 pm
Damn she's gonna be a great president.
Are you being sarcastic? Sorry but I am frankly baffled that any sane person could possibly defend Clinton's statement. It's a fact that we trained and equipped Syrian jihadists, a number of whom have now joined ISIS....and you believe Clinton when she says that if we had been more involved we would've stopped the terrorists and the good guys would've won after all? It's obvious that this warmongering bitch is lying...are you so blinded by your worship of the Democratic Party that you can't see that blatant fact??

Have you no regard for the fact that the Free Syrian Army is distinct from ISIS, and is actually the only force that has proven capable of decisively defeating ISIS? You are delusional. A partisan Democrat would take your position and claim that Obama was right not to intervene in Syria. That a large number of Democrats are now admitting that position is false is evidence that some of us actually look at the empirical facts on the ground and are NOT just blind to partisan ideology. In fact, if you will look at my posts from back in 2013, I was opposed to intervention as well. I was afraid of training jihadists as well, that is why I opposed intervention. What has changed since then? Well, the facts on the ground have changed. ISIS has clearly used U.S. non-intervention to gain is own sphere of influence in western Syria, which it then used to take over northern Iraq. Clearly, if Assad had been decisively defeated in 2012, the Free Syrian Army would not have tolerated the likes of ISIS. ISIS is very unpopular in the areas where it rules. To the extent that other militias join it, it is only because they see it as the winning side, and there are tons of Qatari dollars and other petrodollars from shady Saudi princes pouring into their coffers. This could have been checked in 2012, but Obama chose not to.
42  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Is George W. Bush to blame for ISIS? on: August 10, 2014, 04:43:44 pm
No.
43  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary is an unrestrained warmonger on: August 10, 2014, 03:07:34 pm
Quote
"The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,"

I don't see what's inaccurate about that statement. If Obama had a chance to go back, I'm sure he would have done Syria differently. The world is justly upset about the 1,000+ people killed in Gaza in the past month, but the 170,000+ people killed in Syria's ongoing civil war is a graver tragedy.

ISIS wouldn't exist without the Iraq war, which Hillary supported. She supported spending $1 trillion to help bring ISIS to power. We don't need a 3rd term of Bush.

They were on their last legs before the ongoing catastrophe in Syria rejuvenated them. ISIS in its present form is largely a product of the Syrian conflict, which the U.S. should not have allowed to fester as it did.

Are you saying we should have supported Assad?

Honestly? As much of a moral catastrophe that would be, in practical terms, a quick Assad victory would have been better from a humanitarian standpoint. But no, we should not have supported Assad. We should have supported the Free Syrian Army back in 2011/2012, back before ISIS, but also before al-Nusra became big players in Syria. The result would most likely have been something like Libya today-- not good by any means, but a far cry from the utter disaster that it is today.
44  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary is an unrestrained warmonger on: August 10, 2014, 03:01:00 pm
Quote
"The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,"

I don't see what's inaccurate about that statement. If Obama had a chance to go back, I'm sure he would have done Syria differently. The world is justly upset about the 1,000+ people killed in Gaza in the past month, but the 170,000+ people killed in Syria's ongoing civil war is a graver tragedy.

ISIS wouldn't exist without the Iraq war, which Hillary supported. She supported spending $1 trillion to help bring ISIS to power. We don't need a 3rd term of Bush.

They were on their last legs before the ongoing catastrophe in Syria rejuvenated them. ISIS in its present form is largely a product of the Syrian conflict, which the U.S. should not have allowed to fester as it did.
45  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary is an unrestrained warmonger on: August 10, 2014, 02:53:50 pm
Quote
"The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,"

I don't see what's inaccurate about that statement. If Obama had a chance to go back, I'm sure he would have done Syria differently. The world is justly upset about the 1,000+ people killed in Gaza in the past month, but the 170,000+ people killed in Syria's ongoing civil war is a graver tragedy.
46  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Does the GOP nominee really need to pick a woman or minority for a running mate? on: August 10, 2014, 01:29:37 pm
Similarly, it doesn't matter if Mia Love/Herman Cain/Bobby Jindal/Nikki Haley are nominated for anything, because blacks and Asians are still hurt by the GOP's policies and turned off by nativist tone.

Those four are not good barometers. Jindal and Haley are Asians in states with very few Asians. Mia Love is a black running in a district with very few blacks. Herman Cain never really ran a serious campaign at all. A better barometer might be 2006, when the GOP ran a high quality black candidate (Michael Steele). He lost by just 10 points in one of the most heavily Democratic states in the nation, in a Democratic wave year, for a federal seat previously held by Democrats. Exit polls showed he carried 25% of the African-American vote. If Romney had had those numbers among African-Americans, he would have won Ohio and likely the election.

It's true that minorities are turned off by the GOP's "tone" and rhetoric, but the candidates they run are a part of their tone too. It's harder to cast a party as racist if their standard bearer is of the race in question.

Electoral politics comes down to numbers, and in terms of sheer numbers, a party causes itself grave problems if it preemptively cedes a significant chunk of the electorate. Take Romney and blacks, for example. Let's say blacks are 15% of the electorate (as they were in Ohio in 2012). Romney effectively ceded them before the campaign even started, and Obama for all intents and purposes completely swept them. So now you're effectively starting the campaign 15 points behind, competing for the remaining 85% of voters. Of that 85%, you have to win 50 parts out of 85, or 59%. In other words, you have to win a landslide in the actual campaign, among voters in contention, just to get by in a squeaker. This was Hillary's problem during the 2008 primaries. She was landsliding among the primary voters her campaign was actually competing for, in terms of policies, debates, appearances, etc., but it wasn't enough because of the massive numbers of voters who weren't even in contention. During the 2012 campaign, when I went down to Norfolk we were basically just canvassing these black neighborhoods, and normally when canvassing you have to skip from house to house, and be careful and ask people who they're supporting before reminding them to vote (in case you get a relative, etc.), but we were just doing pure GOTV on every house on the block. No candidate or party should ever make it that easy for their opposition on purpose.

Now add to that 12-15% black voters, Hispanics, Asians, and other minorities who will soon be 33% of the electorate or more, and it's clear that if Republicans give up on these voters, mathematically, they're putting themselves in a virtually impossible position. In that position, their only strategy is to hope for complete race-based polarization in the electorate that allows them to massively consolidate the white vote. But that will be extremely difficult as long as Democrats are still reaching out to those same white voters through their campaigns, with messages and policies that many of those whites are going to support. In other words, it's a structural disadvantage.

The Democrats have a similar issue with working class, blue collar white voters. They can either give up on "those hicks in Appalachia" and become a solely urban-based, social-issues party that marries latte-liberal whites with minorities (a mistake, for the same reasons as outlined above, only replace minorities with poor whites), or they can take up their historically-central economic message of distribution to the poor and middle class.

Both parties are at a crossroads, and I think it's in the interest of each party to pursue the path that keeps the largest share of the electorate open to persuasion and outreach by itself.

(As for women/the gender gap, while birth control and abortion are substantively very important issues, seeing that Romney won 56% of white women - a higher share than George W. Bush in 2004 - and still lost, from a numbers standpoint it's frankly a sideshow. The gender gap among whites isn't that big. The Democrats' crushing margins among minorities are why Obama was elected and the racial dynamics will drive the trends, which should be the source of the GOP's worry.)
47  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: The last movie you've seen thread 2014 on: August 09, 2014, 04:40:57 pm
A Touch of Sin (2013).
48  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Direction of Country? on: August 08, 2014, 05:41:25 pm
With the possible exception of this ebola mess, generally the right direction.
49  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Google 'reveals user' over Gmail child abuse images on: August 08, 2014, 04:49:25 pm
Does privar is really breached? I mean, the volume of emails sent is so big, it would take thousands of employees just to read them all.

There are entire (growing) fields of study devoted to this topic. No, one does not need an army of people to sit there and read through emails-- analytic methods or other forms of research can be used to single out those of interest.

Quote
The right to privacy has never applied to criminal deeds.

No one has said it does.

To take just one small example, suppose any of you young people who are in college or university want to conduct a survey of a few hundred people for the purposes of your academic work-- for a paper whose results will be published and available to the general public, and whose motive is not profit but learning and the general advancement of knowledge. You would still have to go through a rigorous review process and get approval from a local Institutional Review Board. Usually you would also have to provide assurance that you will safeguard "the rights and welfare of human research subjects." (Source). And yet companies like Facebook and Okcupid may conduct behavioral research on thousands, even millions of people with impunity. These two cases we only know because they publicly admitted it. Given the backlash against Facebook, many users did not sign up to be a part of such experiments. Over time they will amass an awesome amount of knowledge about human behaviors, and will be able to manipulate the public to an increasingly high degree. What is to stop companies from abusing this power?
50  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Google 'reveals user' over Gmail child abuse images on: August 08, 2014, 12:14:56 pm
dead0man-- I think you've missed my points-- although understandably. I'm not advocating getting rid of the Internet or Google here. Luddism, although an understandable reaction to the Industrial Revolution, proved unworkable in the long run (I know what a tracert is-- I work in IT). And the ability to see more of what people are doing has certain benefits- in catching child pornographers, or in epidemiology, for instance (although in the case of child pornographers and other criminals and terrorists, they want to engage in private abuses, so an easy solution for them is to simply stop using technology vis-a-vis their illegal activities. Ironically, it's those who are "innocent" or have nothing to hide who are the most vulnerable to having our privacy given away and our actions manipulated).

The point here is not to roll back the clock but to address the vast new issues and power imbalances that the aggregation of so much information - which was once considered private - has created. It must be recognized that the public has an interest in knowing what information is being collected about it, and to what uses this information is being put to. This is perfectly addressable through regulations, for example, that require corporations to report what information they are collecting on consumers and how they are using it, and perhaps, making the raw data available for academics and social scientists to also study this information and use it to advance public knowledge. I would have no problem with such corporations being compensated for such data. Of course, certain things-- such as anti-competitive behaviors, would be prohibited. I would elaborate more, but it would take time, and I am on lunch break.
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